Manning’s Pit may sound like a coal mine but it is, in fact, a magical piece of countryside on the edge of Pilton, Barnstaple. Rich in wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, salmon and horseshoe bats, it may only be a small area of land but it is at the heart of the local community – loved by young and old alike.

Manning’s Pit also has connections to writers such as Saki (H H Munro) and Henry Williamson (see the website.) It is a place where generations of Pilton people have walked, picnicked, picked blackberries, sledged in winter, or simply enjoyed the peace that is so hard to find these days.

Manning’s Pit is now under threat of development. To help save it we are running a Poetry competition. The theme can be Manning’s Pit itself or any bit of countryside near to a town or village that is loved and treasured both by local people and visitors from afar.

The competition will be judged by the well-known poet, Julia Bird, who is based in London but has visited Manning’s Pit.


Adults: 1st £100 2nd £30 3rd £20

Children: 11 and under, 12 – 18 (prizes will be awarded for 1st and 2nd places, value to be announced later)

Entry Details (postal entry only)

Adults: the entry fee is £3 per poem.

Children: 18s and under who are still at school – entry is free. Multiple entries welcomed from clubs or schools.

Line length: maximum 40 lines. Please use only one piece of paper per poem.

Please post your typed or legibly hand-written poems to:

Ms B Snowden, Fig Tree Cottage, Bellaire, Barnstaple EX31 1QZ by the closing date of 30/11/2018

Write your name, address, a contact phone number and email address on the BACK of each poem entered. Include your age if 18 or under.

Payment details:

By cheque made out to “Friends of Manning’s Pit”

Or by bank transfer:
To the Friends of Manning’s Pit Community Bank Account:
Sort Code: 20-04-59
Bank Account Number: 73964035


Poems will be judged anonymously. The judge will make her final decision by 30/12/2018.

Prize winners will be notified by post. Details will also be posted on the website.

Please note:

Copyright of the poems remains with their authors.

Poems must be entirely your own work.

Further essential information can be found at the Manning’s Pit website